Anesthesiologist-Surgeon Relationships

Ideally, surgeons and anesthesiologists work together to motivate best possible outcomes for patients. But physicians separated by a surgical drape can sometimes have different perspectives about what it means to take good care of patients when things go wrong perioperatively. Anesthesiologists’ and surgeons’ capacity for collaboration and collegiality are critical to keeping patients safe. Decision making about airway plan implementation, whether and when DNR suspension is appropriate, coordinating communication about procedures’ risks and benefits, or a patient’s unexpected death prompts interesting, important, and neglected ethical questions about how we think about the scope of these different physicians’ expertise and authority. 

Volume 22, Number 4: E261-345 Full Issue PDF